This Viral Photo Reveals How Devastating It Can Be to Be a Nurse

A woman took a picture of her twin sister post-nursing shift and it will break your heart.

viral post how hard it is to be a nurse

When we think about some of the tragic things that happen in hospitals, we tend to consider how difficult illness or loss can be on a patient and their family members. We assume that—for the people who work in hospitals day in and day out—death is just a fact of life that they've become numb to. But now, a viral Facebook post by Laura McIntyre, about her twin sister, Caty Nixon, who's a nurse, is revealing just how physically and emotionally draining the job can be.

she's gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute?•caty just wrapped up her fourth…

Posted by Laura McIntyre on Thursday, October 10, 2019

The photo shows Nixon sitting in an armchair, still wearing her scrubs, sobbing as she holds a glass of water in one hand and balances a plate of food on her lap. According to McIntyre's caption, she had just finished working more than 53 hours in four days, and on the fourth day, she delivered a stillborn.

"Have you guys ever really thought about what a labor and delivery nurse sees?" McIntyre wrote in her caption. Yes, there is the "great joy" of "smooth deliveries and healthy moms and babies." But they also see the "panic and anxiety," the fear in a new parent's eyes when they hear they need a C-section, teenagers in labor, and women with addictions giving birth to babies who are withdrawing.

"They see CPS come," McIntyre wrote. "They see funeral homes come. Did you know that they have to make arrangements for the funeral home to come pick up the baby?"

The work may be rewarding, but it's also relentless. Most days, there isn't enough time to eat lunch or drink enough water.

"She is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she's taking care of her patients," McIntyre wrote.

McIntyre took the photo in July, but didn't post it until October, coincidentally a few days before Infant Loss Awareness Day on October 15th. Since McIntyre's post went up on October 10th, it's gone viral, receiving more than 176,000 likes and more than 106,000 shares.

Many people wholeheartedly agree that nurses deserve far more credit than they receive for the work that they do.

"This is so touching," wrote one Facebook user, who was on bedrest for three weeks with premature labor before losing her daughter to complications. "To this day, I continue to be grateful for the support, both professionally and emotionally, I received from my nurses around the clock. They were my strength."

And for more on how challenging it is to be a medical professional, check out: Veterinarian's Heartbreaking Description of What It's Like to Put Down a Pet Goes Viral.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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